Calls for enquiry into handling Bognor building in conservation area

What remains of 2-4 Waterloo Square. Photo by Kate Shemilt
What remains of 2-4 Waterloo Square. Photo by Kate Shemilt

A town councillor has called for a public enquiry into the district council’s handling of a building in Bognor in a conservation area.

Labour councillor Jan Cosgrove said he would be raising the issue of ownership and status of 2-4 Waterloo Square at the next Arun District full council meeting.

Scaffolding going up around a building In Waterloo Square, Bognor Regis. Pic Steve Robards SR1904343

Scaffolding going up around a building In Waterloo Square, Bognor Regis. Pic Steve Robards SR1904343

Scaffolding appeared around the building last week as attempts to halt the demolition of the building, which is in a conservation area, appeared to have failed.

Mr Cosgrove said this week: “I am determined in getting some accountability.”

B5 Ltd wants to knock down 2-4 Waterloo Square, citing the poor and unsafe condition of the structure and submitted plans to Arun District Council last year. A decision on the planning application has yet to be made but environmental health officers at the council served a demolition order in January with a notice attached outside the site.

READ MORE: ‘Shock’ at demolition order for dilapidated Waterloo Square buildings

Waterloo demolition photo by Kate Shemilt

Waterloo demolition photo by Kate Shemilt

A spokesman for Arun District Council said: “Arun District Council is the freeholder for 2-4 Waterloo Square but the properties are leased on long commercial leases.

"As the Council have confirmed on a number of occasions in the past, the leases granted were ‘full repairing leases’, meaning that it was the responsibility of the leaseholders to maintain the premises in ‘good and substantial repair’. It would not be equitable for the local tax payer to pick up the bill for the repair of commercial properties of this nature.

“Following past unauthorised occupation of the units, the current leaseholders who bought the leases in 2018 from the previous leaseholders, acted promptly in order to remove persons from the premises. During this work they uncovered extensive corrosion to structural supporting steelwork. This and other disrepair has led to the requirement for the recent demolition order.

“The Council will continue to work with the leaseholders to progress the necessary redevelopment of the site in line with their commitment to the regeneration of the seafront and town centre.”

READ MORE: Dilapidated Waterloo Square buildings could be knocked down